Reporter's notebook: It's not about the money

Monday, May 24, 2010

Many attendees to The MED Group's Respiratory Summit in April named national competitive bidding as one of their top concerns.

T.J. Thompson, president of Atlantic Respiratory Services in Charleston, S.C., worries the independents will be weeded out.

"The only way to compete is to convince referrals that I'm going to give their patients the best service," she said. "The physicians in our area don't want to send their patients to the nationals. Once competitive bidding goes through, patient care goes out the window. There's no incentive to compete at that level."

Thompson knows what she's talking about. Her mom has end-stage COPD.

"My mom is still around because of home care," she said. "We want every patient treated like my mom."

Contrary to what CMS seems to believe, providers aren't simply looking to make a quick buck off of beneficiaries.

"It sounds corny, but we are here to help," said Penny Girard, operations manager at All Star Oxygen Services in Concord, Calif. "That's why we do this."

Helping people is also what motivated provider Kevin Hill to become an RT.

"I feel like it's a place where we can do a lot to help people," said Hill, president of CPS Medical in Tyler, Texas. "If this was all about the money, I'd have bailed a long time ago."